Squerryes Court in Westerham, Kent, has been home to the Warde family for more than 300 years. Wine has been part of the estate’s history since the beginning, with Sir Patience Warde, the first generation to live in the house, trading wool from Squerryes over the Channel in return for French red wine, which he sold in London. Then, in 2006, the family planted 36 acres of their own vines on the estate and the rest, as they say, is history.
In addition to its vineyard and wine business, which includes an exclusive membership scheme, Squerryes now also boasts a well-regarded restaurant, while the estate hosts events throughout the year, including wine tours and tastings and Squerryes can be hired for weddings and celebrations.
There is much going on and, understandably, the businesses’ website is at the centre of that. Target Ink created the current website for Squerryes four years ago.
“Target Ink was recommended to us by another local business,” explains James Osborn, Director at Squerryes. “We invited them to pitch for the website, along with a couple of other agencies. Target Ink stood out from the others with their response to our brief. In fact, they produced a dummy site, which made their offering much more tangible.”
James says that he was also attracted to Target Ink by the cost.
“They weren’t going to charge us a big lump of money for the website,” says James. “Instead, there was a smaller amount initially and then they incorporated a maintenance fee each month moving forward. This made sense to us from a budgeting point of view.”
He adds that while the website hasn’t undergone any ‘big structural changes’ in those years, it has grown with perhaps around 25% more content now.
The vineyard’s online shop is a key part of the website and has been particularly important during lockdown, when people haven’t always been able to visit in person to buy wine.
“The pandemic has been challenging for us as a business, but we’ve certainly realised how important it is to have a good website during this time, as our shop window to the world,” says James. “We’ve seen a big increase in traffic to the website over recent months, particularly over the Christmas period.”
Squerryes uses a separate e-commerce package and a table-booking facility for its restaurant but James says Target Ink has seamlessly integrated both systems into the website.
“We are actually moving onto a different e-commerce site fairly soon but we’re confident that Target Ink has the knowledge and expertise to integrate that new one in too,” adds James.
He adds that he really appreciates the ‘honest approach’ of the Target Ink team.
“I’d sum that up as saying they are not ‘yes people’ for the sake of it,” James explains. “If we go to them with an idea and they don’t think it would be right for the website or our business, they will say so. I suspect others might say ‘yes’ and not think through the consequences of that. This means that trust has built up. The web and digital world can be a bit daunting sometimes and we absolutely rely on Target Ink to give us the very best advice.”